Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cupcake Quest: Shaw's Supermarkets

This post is part of the Cupcake Quest series on Fork it over, Boston!

I grew up going to Shaw's, and I thought it was great. Then, I moved to Rochester, NY for awhile and discovered Wegmans, and my loyalties switched quickly and permanently. Shaw's does have a decent bakery, though - and Wegmans doesn't exist around here (yet...I'm glaring at you, ultra-slow developers of the Westwood shopping development) - so I don't hold a grudge against Shaw's, despite the usually terrible selection of produce.

Part 1: Mini Cupcakes
If you grew up near a Shaw's like I did, I'm sure you've had these at countless birthday parties. Bite-sized and sprinkled, they're always decent. If the cake part is a bit dry at times, it doesn't really matter because it's gone in a bite. The frosting is a little bit sweet, fortunately without that ultra-chemically taste. This tasting took place at a going away party for one of my classmates from grad school, who just moved back home to Montana for awhile. She loves bugs and spiders, so I decorated the food table with an assortment of (toy) spiders.
Shaw's mini vanilla cupcakes with chocolate or vanilla frosting (spider not included)
Part II: Gourmet Cupcakes
Gourmet? Shaw's? Well, relative to the simple mini cupcakes, yes. We tried three: a giant vanilla one topped with chocolate frosting and white chocolate shavings, a normal-sized chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and an Oreo cookie, and a normal-sized chocolate cupcake with pink frosting in the shape of a rose. The vanilla cake was very dry; the chocolate was also pretty dry, but a bit more bearable. The frosting on the giant cupcake was nice - kind of like a Hostess cupcake. The rose frosting was practically radioactive: that bitter, awful, fake sugary taste. Yuck. The frosting adhesion on the rose cupcake was also terrible. The nightmarish frosting fell right off the cake (which I guess is actually a good thing in this case). The frosting-to-cake ratio was appropriate on all three cupcakes.
Do not get this cupcake. Ever. Or if you do, let the frosting fall off (it will.) The cake part was actually pretty decent.
Decent cake, decent frosting. This is a pretty safe choice if you like Oreos.
This cupcake is just too big for its own good: it's very dry. The frosting, however, is very nice. If you get this one, try to get it early in the day; maybe it'll be moister.
The Verdict: If you want something cheap and convenient, Shaw's cupcakes are always a solid choice. Play it safe with the minis, or go gourmet, but avoid anything brightly colored. Chocolate and vanilla frostings are the best bet. (Location note: The mini cupcakes were from the Fenway Shaw's and the gourmet cupcakes were from the Prudential Shaw's.)


  1. Just found your blog...just added it to my reader. I am loving the posts about your Copley Market finds. Tuesdays and Fridays are definitely the highlight of my work week. I am so sick of the lunches in the Back Bay so I will definitely need to check out those lunch finds you have discovered!

    I grew up in upstate NY and miss Wegmans dearly. I guess they are scheduled to open in 2011 in the burbs. I live in the city, but am already planning to make the hike out there a couple times of month to get my fix in! We always had Wegmans cakes growing up and they are definitely the best. Shaws can't compare...


  2. Yay! Welcome!

    My favorite Back Bay lunches are too expensive/unhealthy/etc., so I'm trying to replace most of them with farmers' market goodies as much as possible :)

    When Wegmans finally opens here, I'm totally going to the grand opening. It's definitely worth the drive! I don't think I ever had a Wegmans cake, but I'm not surprised that they're better than Shaw's.

  3. I tried the spring roll from the Herb Lyceum today after seeing your post on it. It was pretty good (although I had to use a fork and knife as it kept falling apart)!

    I hear you on the grand opening!

  4. Yeah, I also used a fork and knife - what a mess! Tasty, though :)


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